The use of disposable aluminum trays in the microwave is totally safe.
Among the various household appliances, one of the most misunderstood is the microwave.
The magic of heating a plate of food in a few minutes revolutionized the food industry.
A great number of myths are woven around the microwave, many of them fed by ignorance of how this mysterious appliance works.
One of the most widespread myths is the danger of introducing metal into the microwave. Among them, the aluminium containers.
However, a little over a decade ago it was demonstrated that – under specific conditions – we can use disposable aluminium containers in the microwave, without running any risk.
This was made known by the Fraunhofer Society, a prestigious German organization that has more than 72 institutes dedicated to scientific research in various branches.
Study with scientific support
The research was commissioned by the Metal in Microwave Industry Group, an industrial group that is made up of various associations of metal packaging manufacturers in Europe.
The study was to identify the safety risks that could be posed by using containers, specifically rigid aluminum and steel containers, to heat food in a microwave oven.
To carry out the study, different prepared foods, contained in different types of packaging of different sizes, were used.
In addition, four common microwave models were used that could be in the home of any citizen of the world.
After 1000 procedures, it was concluded:
- No sparks or potential risk situations were identified.
- All the microwave ovens maintained the same performance before, during and after the experiments.
Among the researchers who took part in the study was Thomas Pfeiffer, who said: “We have concluded that the use of shallow, wide-opening metal containers for microwave heating is perfectly feasible from a safety point of view. So yes, metal packaging is already microwaveable, it’s not a myth.
However, Pfeiffer stressed the need to respect the elementary rules of use of this type of appliance.
Basic rules for using the microwave
To use aluminium trays to reheat food in the microwave we must:
- Remove the container lid completely.
- Fill the containers with the food to be heated.
- Place the containers properly arranged on the microwave turntable.
- Make sure that the container does not touch the walls of the microwave during operation.
With these four minimum safety measures, heating food in an aluminium tray is entirely possible and safe.
It is fair to stress that, contrary to what you may imagine, the heating time with an aluminium container is longer than with plastic containers, but it is more uniform.
To read the press release published by the Association of European Manufacturers of Steel for Packaging (APEAL) where the success of the experiments was announced, click here.
Additionally, we invite you to watch a video of the Mythbusters, where they perform various experiments with microwaves.